I have personally been devastated at the killing of Maria Menchaca because I was one of her teachers this past school year. Maria was a sweet, gentle, intelligent, artistically talented student. Each day she would come to school dressed as if this were picture day. You could not have met a better-behaved student.

To read the letter from Ken Halterman (Readers' Forum, July 12) hinting that her family was dressed as East L.A. gangbangers left me with a sour taste in my mouth. From his Davis County address, I wonder exactly how often he spends time in East L.A. Or did he just see some movie about East L.A.? Many Hispanic males wear their hair like this. How does this make Maria's parents responsible for this darling child getting shot? I'm mad and frustrated at the entire week's events.

Donna Murdock